On the topic of User Centered Design (UCD) and Rhetorical Awareness, I am using as my example one of my favorite news sources, The New York Times. As an Economics student as well as a very politically active citizen, I really enjoy the spectrum of opinion and informational articles on economic, political and societal issues and news. As well as providing outstanding journalism, the New York Times also does a very good job of incorporating concepts such as rhetorical awareness and User Centered Design into the promotion and distribution of its articles and other news materials.
Rhetorical Awareness and the New York Times
The New York Times is one of the oldest and most decorated newspapers in the US. As the decades have passed the Times has moved more and more towards providing reading materials for all manners of interests in the news spectrum. If you peruse the website nowadays you will see articles aimed at the interests of a range of topics, anywhere from economics to cooking to popular culture and sports journalism. This illustrates the major steps the online newspaper has taken to expand its reader audience in a time period when many long standing newspapers are beginning to look existentially endangered.
A further challenge the Times has encountered is that it has charged a relatively high subscription fee for readers to be able to read more than a select number of articles every month in order to maintain profitability. The newspaper has tried to counter the inconvenience on readers by emphasizing the historical significance of the paper and highlighting the commentary from a range of highly qualified and decorated columnists who have emerged as leaders in their respective fields.
By expanding the content of the material of the newspaper as well as trying to reinforce the real value that the paper provides, the New York Times has been able to capitalize on a broad share of readers from varied backgrounds. The Times has been highly effective in its use of rhetorical awareness with the purpose of expanding the audience of one of the most prestigious and significant newspapers in American history.
User Centered Design
User centered design has been used to great effect by the designers and editors at the New York Times in order to make the site user friendly and cater to the audience that the Times has built over the past few decades.
One of the major characteristic of articles and editorials on the New York Times is the sub categories that the Times provides within the larger topics such as economics, politics, and business. For instance while any reader can open up the politics tab and view a wide range of articles ranging from local to national to world political news, there are also categories that cater to more specific readers who for example may be interested primarily in the 2016 election, like their Election 2016 collection.
A large number of Times articles also have either a short write up or compact reader friendly summaries that cater to readers that are either pressed for time or just want to have a more compact news experience. Beyond just the design undertaken to make the site more user friendly, writers for the New York Times typically are very concise and able to effectively communicate the point of their articles without the message being bogged down in overly wordy rhetoric.
The New York Times has done an outstanding job of curating and publishing major news and prolific columnists and editors. By utilizing Rhetorical Awareness and User Centered Design the Times has created a bastion of journalistic excellence while making content easy to access and providing an excellent reader experience.